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In 2012, California became the first state to protect LGBT youth from dangerous and scientifically discredited efforts by state-licensed therapists to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

This law (Senate Bill 1172) prohibits therapists who are licensed by the State of California from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of people under 18.

The laws define “conversion therapy” and “sexual orientation change efforts” to include any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Can Any Type of Therapy Change a Person’s Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity? In the past, some mental health professionals resorted to extreme measures such as institutionalization, castration, and electroconvulsive shock therapy to try to stop people from being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). What Do Mainstream Mental Health Professionals Say About Conversion Therapy?In 2009, the APA issued a report concluding that the reported risks of the practices include: depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, suicidality, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame, decreased self-esteem and authenticity to others, increased self-hatred, hostility and blame toward parents, feelings of anger and betrayal, loss of friends and potential romantic partners, problems in sexual and emotional intimacy, sexual dysfunction, high-risk sexual behaviors, a feeling of being dehumanized and untrue to self, a loss of faith, and a sense of having wasted time and resources. Minors who experience family rejection based on their sexual orientation or gender identity face especially serious health risks.Research shows that lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were more than eight times more likely to report having attempted suicide, more than five times more likely to report high levels of depression, more than three times more likely to use illegal drugs, and more than three times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection.

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